History | History of Prests of Our Parish
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Rev. Fr. Paul Marseline Alles OMI

Rev. Fr. Gueguen OMI
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Janze, SDB
[1983 - 1985]
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Rev. Fr. Hubert Perris
Rev. Fr. Ruban Silva
Rev. Fr. John Hettiarachchi
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Rev. Fr. Leo Perera
Rev. Fr. Sunil Perera
Rev. Fr. Sarath Thirimanna
Rev. Fr. Kithsiri Thirimanna

Prior to our church becoming a parish, it belonged to the Sea Street parish. In addition, churches at Dalupotha, Nelumpitiya, Periyamulla, Kudapaduwa and Eththukala were a part of Sea Street Parish. In the early days, the Sunday mass was celebrated in our church, by priests who came from the Sea Street church. One week before the church feast, a priest from Sea Street came in a bullock cart loaded with all that was  necessary to administer the sacraments and helped the parishioners to celebrate the annual church feast, by fulfilling all their spiritual needs. The priest used to spend about a week with the devotees in our church and return to Sea Street church. The priest used to come back again once a month, to give Sunday mass to the parishioners. Since there was no electricity at the time, the “Vespers” and evening procession on the eve of the feast were conducted illuminated by gas-lamps. At the time, since there was no church bell – pilla, the church bell was hung on a rafter tied to two trees. However with financial assistance from a company named Voucher & Company, a new church bell-pillar was built in the year 1935.

In place of the old dilapidated mission house, in 1948, Rev. Fr. R. P. Anthony built a new one. In 1950, Mr. B.A.W. Jayamanna, at his own cost, installed electricity in the church. This enabled the devotees to attend the 5 O’clock morning mass on Sundays. Further, in the year 1953, the convent of perpetual succour was established on the church land. The medical clinic begun by the convent became a great source of medical assistance to the our parishioners as well as the people from adjoining villages; with the setting up of the convent our church got a residential priest and the devotees got the opportunity of attending daily-mass.

Rev. Fr. Linus F. Silva was our first incumbent priest and when he passed away in 1956, he was entombed in the church premises. It was also a historical event that three sisters of Perpetual Succor taking their permanent vows in our own church. Thereafter Rev. Fr. Paro came to our church as a resident priest and served until his retirement in 1966 and took abode in the Bishop’s house. In 1950, an organization called Child Development Forum [Now called as Holy Chid Hood Society] was established to enhance the spiritual development of our children. Rev. Fr. G. Joseph Fernando did away with the “ANNAVI” system and took initial steps to establish a pastoral council. At early stages, all religious rituals and activities were conducted in Tamil. In order to fulfill the needs of the Sinhala devotees, at the directions by Rev. Fr. Gebrian Fernando, Malakius Fernando translated the litany of our Lady of Snows into Sinhala. He also composed the Sinhala hymn called Purest Queen of Ascalin Hill; to mark the church feast, a religious drama called “Jhon de Britto” carrying a spiritual massage was also staged.

Mr. Hector Welgampola, Former editor of both “Gnnaratha Pradeepaya”, “Catholic Messenger” and editor United Catholic Asian News, is a well known writer born of our village. Also Mr. Norbert Perera who steered the church choir is from a reknown family of Music, from our village as well. Others who followed him such as K. Hugo Fernando, Britto Fernando, Priyantha Perera and Pemsith Fernando have contributed for the development of the church choir over the years. Rev. Sister Philomena Nishsanka of the convent of Perpetual Succor now leads the children’s choir of the church.            
Rev. Fr. Anthony Cyril served as the residential priest from 1966 to 1970, and during his time the provisions of the 2nd Vatican council came into effect. The priests began celebrating the mass in local languages facing the congregations; it’s during his tenure, various forums of laymen came into being. Also during the same period the road facing the church was named as “Praja Seva Mawatha.”

On 23rd of June 1928, Rt. Rev Thomas Benjamin Cooray, a great son of our church was ordained a priest in Rome and he celebrated his first mass in the Basilica, the first church dedicated to Our Lady of Snows. No doubt it was another historical event. Rt. Rev. Thomas Benjamin Cooray, who became a bishop on 4th March 1946, was consecrated as a Cardinal on 22nd of February 1965. Having arrived in Sri Lanka in the same year, the new cardinal was received by our parishioners with great honour. The cardinal thus celebrated his mass in Sinhala in the open air of our church. Rev. Fr. Ignatious Perera another son of our Parish, with a doctorate in church music from the “Propaganda Fide University of Rome” provided music for the cardinal’s mass. Also in 1967, the Cardinal came to our church and consecrated the new alter donated by K.P.C. Fernando. A new church bell donated by Victor Mathews, replacing a 57 year old bell was blessed and installed by the Cardinal on the same day, in the presence of two children who represented parent –hood of the bell, as per the church traditional customs. This was another historical event of our church. In 1970, the residential priest of the church was Rev. Fr. Arthur.

 Thereon Rev. Fr. Stanly Mellawa the Principal of St. Peter’s college Negombo was resident in our church administering sacraments to our devotees. During Fr. Mellawa’s period the baptisms and death registrations were done in our own church, in lieu of going to Sea Street church for the purpose; also setting up of a financial scheme for the sustainability of the residential priests at Periyamulla and supplying pews for the church were also done during his time. After Fr. Mellawa, Fr. Sunil Kumara Perera served in our parish. Thereafter Rev. Fr. Kingsly Perera was our residential priest for a short period of time. Thereon, Periyamulla Catholics were served by Rev. Fr. Emmanual Janze (S.D.B.) and Rev. Fr. Lucien Bernard (S.D.B.) of Don Bosco technical Institute. It was during the period of Rve. Fr. Emmanual  Janze the Diamond Jubilee of the church took place. It was seen and left the Diamond Jubilee brought a renewal of the spiritual life of the people. In August 1985, the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated, presided by Rt. Rev. Dr. Nicholas Marcus, Archbishop Emeritus. In 1985, Rev. Fr. Hubert Perris, the residential priest inaugurated the Marriage Encounter, the lay movement in our church. 

In 1989, Rev. Fr. Ruban Silva came to our church as the residential priest. At the time, Rev. Fr. Ivan Perera was the Vicar General of the Negombo region, and at the incessant request of our parishioners he promised to give us an independent parish, taking ours out of the Sea Street parish. During Rev. Fr. Ruban Silva’s period Mr. Prosper Crooz donated a Paschal statue of Jesus Christ with a casket to lay the same. It was during the church feast in August, 1990, it became known that Rev. Fr. Ruban Silva was to go on a transfer. The parishioners then went as a delegation and requested the archbishop to establish our church as a separate parish. As a result of  our discussion that we had with the archbishop, Rev. Fr. Ivan Perera, the Vicar General, at the evening vespers of the church feast, on 18th August 1990, announced that our church which had so far belonged to the Wllaveediya parish has been announced as the 107th parish of the Colombo diocese by Rt. Rev. Dr. Nicholas Macus Fernando, the archbishop Emeritus.

In 1992, Rev. Fr. John Hettiarachchi, replaced Rev. Fr. Ruban Silva and when he left the parish, in 1993, Rev Fr. Siril Josep became the parish priest. Rev. Fr. Leo Perera took over the parish in July 1994. Rev. Fr. Leo Perera, in using his keen wisdom was able to solve the issue of Loyola College situated in our church premises. In resolving the said issue, we also appreciate the role played by Rev. Fr. Human Anthony Pinto who was then Director of Don Bosco Technical Institute and now the provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco community, during the same period Rev. Fr. Sunil Perera served as the assistant to Rev. Fr. Leo Perera; also during Rev. Fr. Leo Perera’s period, the church was repainted and the premises were filled up and electricity was installed in the church area. On 25th September 1995, Loyala Colloge was shifted from Periyamella to Daluwakotuwa.     

In 1998, Rev. Fr. Sarath Sirimanna became the parish priest and  work such as replacing the old church bell with a new one, installing of a new public address system, construction of the Easter alter, tiling of the alter area, the renovation of the church frontage were done, during the same period.in 2004 when Rev. Fr. Kithsiri Serimanna was the parish priest, the electricity system was completely reestablished; church tabernacle of the Holy Eucharist was renovated; and a memorial hall in honour of His Eminence Thomas Benjamin Cardinal Cooray, was built on the church premises. Also, on the eve of the church feast, at evening vespers service, on Saturday, 22nd of August 2009. Very Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando The Episcopal Vicars of North Region of Colombo Archdiocese, announced the year of  centenary celebrations of our church.

Rev. Fr. Lester Nonis who became the parish priest on October 2009, prepared the parishioners spiritually through a retreat in view of the centenary celebrations. Three preacher – priests from the Oder of Immaculate Mary (OMI), from “Nasereth”, Wennappuwa, through a retreat conducted from 28th Oct. to 19th Nov. 2009, prepared the children, the youth, the parents bringing about a spiritual rejuvenation during the whole period of the centenary celebrations.

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